Civic activists, representatives of elected officials and LaGuardia Airport employees drew potential new bus routes to and from the airport and voted on what improvements they would like to see done to bus service as part of a study to improve transportation there.
“We got some terrific feedback,” said Eric Beaton, of the city Transportation Department. “This is why we have these outreach meetings.”
The workshops held at East Elmhurst’s Vaughn College, at 86-01 23rd Ave., Nov. 2 served as the second public hearing of LaGuardia Airport Access Alternatives, a study being conducted through the DOT, New York City Transit and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to find easy-to-implement and inexpensive ideas to improve public transportation to LaGuardia Airport.
“Which really means what we can do with the bus,” Beaton said.
In the workshops, about 40 participants sat at tables of about 10 people. Each table had a map of areas surrounding the airport, including East Elmhurst, Astoria, Long Island City, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Flushing, College Point, Upper and Midtown Manhattan and the Bronx.
One suggestion for a new bus line was an addition to the existing line. Civic activist Lynda McDougall advocated a type of express M60, which would travel from Manhattan to the airport and only pick up airport passengers. She said this would prevent what she called the chaos on the current M60 line that occurs between those who use the bus to travel exclusively to local Manhattan stops and those who use it to get to the airport.
“I’ve seen people fight to get off the bus to get a taxi,” McDougall said.
Other suggested routes included a bus route along 74th Street in Jackson Heights to Northern Boulevard, a bus route that takes people from Midtown to the airport via Northern Boulevard and a bus that goes from the Bronx to LaGuardia Airport.
Participants also voted on some either-or scenarios, which offered the choice between two potential routes of public transport that differed in trip length or number of transfers. Then they voted on different amenities they would like to see to make riding the bus easier. Some of these included curbside bus lanes, traffic signals that prioritize buses, more doors on buses, and ways to pay for the bus before boarding.
“People could really visualize what they were talking about,” Andrew Ronan, who works in City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s (D-Jackson Heights) office, said of the process.
Civic activist Rose Marie Poveromo said she thought the organizations were working to hear the community’s concerns, but she had issues with the money being spent for the study.
“It’s not the right time to be doing it,” Poveromo said. “Financially, we’re in big trouble.”
A third public meeting is planned for spring 2012.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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